This is an interesting US holiday. It does NOT have to do with pregnant women preparing to go into labor, as many have jokingly posted online while waiting for their baby’s delivery date. Labor Day began in the late 1800s, with workers protesting the long hours they had to work. Then, starting in Oregon, it became a state holiday and spread to other states before becoming a federal holiday. And as much as it seems peculiar to discuss holidays in a pastor’s page, I do think it is important to reflect on why we have all these different holidays. Often, they just become a 3-day weekend for families to travel and do things. Then, when conversing with employees who work in retail, the day has become commercialized and forces them to work on a day when they should actually rest! (Of which, I will say that Costco is doing to right thing by making it a day off for all their employees, which is the heart of the matter.)
As Christians, how do we look at Labor Day theologically? We are encouraged—no, we are instructed—to work, by God in the Bible. As Christians, we need to consider where our thinking is in relation to the topic of work. Are we lazy? Or are we workaholics? Americans, as a whole, take the least amount of vacation days in the world. Perhaps it is part of the “American Dream” to work hard and make something of yourself? I know that when
conversing with many elderly and retired members of the church, they worked long hours to provide for their families. To this, I say, “Good job!” Let us be like the ant described on Proverbs 6:6-7, who works hard. For Solomon’s wisdom continues, in vv.9-11 (ESV), “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” At the same time, we need to be careful of who the “Queen ant” is? Is it ourselves? Or the Lord? What are we laboring for?
Otherwise, like the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21, where he has too much and needs more barns to store all that he has, little does he know that his life will be taken from him and all the wealth he gained for himself will be lost, because he was rich towards himself, but was “not rich towards God”.
Lest we forget, Jesus instructed his disciples in Luke 6:20, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Let us abide in Christ, knowing that our true wealth is in heaven and labor according to His will. And we’re not sure what to do? Ask! 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”